Eleven Willow

Project Description

Nashville’s Civil Engineering department took on a challenging urban redevelopment project in fall 2019. The project, located less than one-half mile from downtown Nashville’s southeast fringe, along with one of the city’s many railroad corridors, involved rezoning the 0.84-acre property from industrial to office use. W&A served as a subcontractor to project architect, Powell Architecture + Building Studio, who turned the 18,800 square-foot warehouse into a modern, industrial-inspired, co-working space, somewhat reminiscent of W&A’s Athens office space. The project opened in August of this year and, the facility now caters to “locals, creatives, and titans of industry.”

Innovative and Problem-solving

The existing building at 11 Willow takes up slightly more than ½ of the 0.84-acre site. It was built in 1954 to house the Scott Equipment Co., at a time when most of the current regulations for parking, ADA, and stormwater did not exist. Compliance was a challenge, especially in terms of space. According to Project Engineer, Mike Donoho, “You just have to squeeze stuff into every square inch of the property that you can.” The entire industrial area is part of a combination sewer area; that is, all stormwater and sanitary sewer go into the same pipe—there’s no separation, and then all of that water gets dumped into a large holding tank, and from there gets pumped to the wastewater treatment facility. Regardless of the destination of the stormwater, local regs required the property owner to address water quality, and so W&A designed a bio-retention pond located at the corner of the property, complete with extensive landscaping and utilized 18-inch pipe with a check valve, to prevent sewage backflow during floods, to connect the pond to the public drainage system. “It’s funny that they make us treat our stormwater and make it as pristine as possible before it leaves our site, and then it goes straight into a pipe with sewage in it.”

Sustainability and Economic Impact

Adaptive re-use of an existing building is, in and of itself, a sustainable practice, and such projects often provide the impetus for revitalization of a struggling area. Eleven Willow sold for $2.75 million in early 2019 to local entrepreneur Kirk Slawek, owner of the Germantown-area-based video production company Gear Seven Creative. Mike observes that “this is one of the first buildings outside the downtown loop area to undergo this kind of transformation.” A 2019 article about the project refers to the area as the “Railyard District” and notes its early stages of transition.



Nashville, Tennessee

Project Stats

  • Urban Redevelopment
  • 0.84-acre property
  • Project involved rezoning
  • The site is part of an Industrial area
  • Part of a combination sewer system

Services Provided

  • Civil Engineering
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Stormwater Management
  • Water Quality
  • Parking
  • Sidewalks
  • ADA Compliance


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